Destiny and Fate are Illusions
Humans unwilling to entertain reality will believe anything to make themselves feel better.
Our collective capacity for self-delusion is just as limitless as our imagination.
But while the former rests on co-opting dogma and magical thinking, the latter takes self-awareness and reflection. This, it seems, requires more effort than convincing ourselves some force other than willpower is in charge of our life.
When faced with adversity, many of us will immediately embrace victimhood and look for scapegoats. That we may have had a part of responsibility in how things turned out doesn’t even occur to us; in our mind, we are always right and thus blameless in every way.
So we don’t have to be held accountable, answer to our peers, or engage our brain, we willingly relinquish agency. Although doing so condemns us to a lifetime of whining that life is unfair, it’s a lot more comfortable than tackling reality head on.
Life simply is. One day, a valiant spermatozoid fertilizes an egg and, nine months later, you make your way out of the womb and into the world with a splash and a shout.
Sometimes, our existence is pure love made manifest; other times, the condom broke. Either way, biology is the only reason any of us ever happen.
And yet, the well-trodden path of least resistance is so appealing to our lazy ego that some of us believe we are predestined to serve a higher purpose.
Depending on how and why we were born, it may be true in a roundabout way. Some of us end up being a cautionary tale about disastrous relationships while others are a walking reminder that contraception matters.
There is no predestined path for any of us.
Our life isn’t laid out like a bullet point listicle the moment we rip our genitor’s vagina and perineum to shreds, or gift them with a large abdominal scar.
Isn’t that a relief?
Imagine laboring under the illusion that you were special rather than equal to all other humans on this planet. How would that affect your interactions with your peers?
Would you grow up believing your life had more value than theirs? Would you then seek to exploit them for your own self-serving goals?
In case the above sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it describes how America came to be. Not only was the country built on the backs of slaves, but it has perpetrated the myth of exceptionalism since its foundation.
More than likely, those of us who look down on the rest of the world know no other way because we were indoctrinated from birth and told we were the best.
That’s why we’re not equipped to navigate reality and need stabilizers at all times in the form of bias reinforcement. Thankfully, the internet provides and there’s no shortage of echo chambers in which we can make ourselves at home.
And because we live in a culture that panders to the lowest common denominator, it’s quite possible to sleepwalk through life. Why bother with curiosity, critical thinking, or educating yourself when TV has it all figured out for you?
Look, the president of the United States is a former reality show host…
Calling, also known as vocation, is something else altogether.
It is the all-consuming and relentless urge to pursue a particular activity or profession. It can be predicated on natural aptitude as is the case with musicians, athletes, and poets, or on a deep-seated desire to be of service to society. Some humans, like firefighters, risk their life daily to save others; doctors, teachers, and “word people” are often called to heal and educate.
If the last category remains undefined, it is because this umbrella term brings together a wide array of folks not always driven by vocation.
Journalism, for example, is often a calling that rests on holding power accountable and articulating what it means to be a human in the world. Then again, some only enter it to see their name in print as they hope for some degree of public recognition, i.e. celebrity. That’s no different from bloggers who turn themselves into a brand or a product complete with tagline out of greed.
Although we’re fond of assigning a meaning to it, life itself has none.
Or rather, meaning doesn’t come installed as standard, it’s up to us to find it. For some, life is all about having as much fun as possible. For others, life is all about amassing as many resources as we can. Some of us create, some of us consume; some of us contribute, some of us take; some of us empower, some of us exploit…
We all have the ability not only to choose our journey but to change course and reinvent ourselves as often as we want or need to.
Provided we’re prepared to put in the work, our ability to envisage an alternative to what is can infuse our life with meaning. Similarly, we have in us the power to overwrite infelicitous beginnings and become more than a coital afterthought.
The human heart is a compass, so is the human mind.
So, shall we use them or lose them?